Frequently Asked Questions

Many questions about Telgard come up again and again. If you need help with our phone scam blocking service, you’ll probably find the answer in our FAQ.

About

Coverage

Features

Subscriptions

Usage

Settings

Troubleshooting

Liability

Industry

About

What is Telgard?

Telgard is a subscription-based service that helps prevent phone fraud. It is useful for blocking robocalls, telemarketers, phone scammers, and fraudsters.

How does it work?

Telgard checks every incoming call against our list of known scammers and blocks those calls. Callers that pass this test are then asked for information. This information is relayed to you, or your designated screener for approval/rejection. The callers you approve are added to your Safelist and can call through directly.

Is there another way to do this?

Other reputable services exist for checking callers against lists of known robocallers/scammers. That said, we believe Telgard is the only service with a multi-layer strategy for preventing phone fraud.

Does it work?

Yes, but it has limits. The vast majority of unwanted calls are intercepted at the first stage (when we check against known robocallers/scammers). The ones that sneak through tend to get caught via call-captcha. It’s rare to see calls get past there; that said, an industrious scammer probably could find a way.

Do you have any testimonials from users?

No. We’re just in the process of launching (I’m writing this in mid-February, 2019). That said, once we have a few people signed up for the service, we’ll add their feedback to the website.

Who made Telgard?

Telgard is built by Eric Shelkie and Eric Karjaluoto, from smashLAB. We created it to help our families—and realized it might be useful to people like you. We operate Telgard from our respective homes, in Vancouver, Canada.

Why did you make Telgard?

One of Eric K.’s family members was the victim of a scam. This led us to explore ways to protect this person—and others.

Coverage

Does Telgard work on all phones?

Unfortunately, it doesn’t. It requires your telephone service provider to offer Simultaneous Ring. (This feature allows our software to intercept your incoming calls, for screening.)

Does Telgard work on landlines?

Yes—so long as your telephone provider offers Simultaneous Ring (which is required to use Telgard).

How do I get my provider to support Telgard?

Contact your telco’s customer support department, and tell them you need Simultaneous Ring. (You can also tell them that you want it so you can run Telgard.) The more they hear this request, the more likely they are to add this feature. If they aren’t willing to, you might consider switching to another provider that does offer Simultaneous Ring.

Can good robocalls (warnings, announcements, etc.) still reach me?

Yes and no. By default, all calls from unrecognized numbers must pass our call-captcha test, where we ask for some basic information. Since machines can’t pass this test, no automated calls (bad or good) will get through. That said, you can always add the phone number of good robocalls to your safelist, which will allow them to reach you. Additionally, we’re working on a registry that allows good robocallers (e.g., government agencies) to be automatically safelisted—and have their calls pass through directly.

Can callers with no caller ID reach me?

Callers who have masked their phone numbers present challenges for us. Without a number, we can’t “see” who they are—which means they can’t be added to a safelist/blocklist. For this reason, any calls coming from users who have no caller ID associated with their number can only leave a message.

Does Telgard prevent all scam calls?

No. Telgard cannot prevent all scam calls. It is a protection measure but not foolproof. For this reason, you must still use common sense when responding to unknown callers. That said, Telgard does minimize unwanted calls and continues to improve over time.

Does this service work on mobile phones?

Yes. That said, it’s intended for landlines.

Can you protect me from computer scams?

Not yet, but we’re working on this.

Is Telgard always online?

Almost always. Sometimes we experience brief pauses, while pushing out new releases of the software. (These are momentary, and infrequent.)

Features

What is Robocall Blocking?

Robocall Blocking checks every incoming call against a database of known scam callers. If there’s a match, we hang up on your behalf, and prevent them from reaching you. (Robocall Blocking comes standard on all Telgard plans.)

What is Call-captcha Screening?

Call-captcha Screening is a feature that requires unknown callers to identify themselves and provide a reason for calling. If you approve this caller, he/she is added to your safelist. Alternatively, if it’s an unwanted caller, you can choose to block them. (Robocall Blocking comes standard on all Telgard plans.)

What is Message Personalization?

Message Personalization is a feature that allows you to customize the message that incoming callers hear from your host. (Message Personalization is available on Better and Super plans.)

What is Screener Assignment?

Screener Assignment is a feature that allows you to assign screening to a third-party. For example, you can ask one of your children or trusted friends to screen and approve/reject callers on your behalf. (Message Personalization is available on Super plans.)

What is Voice Select?

Voice Select is a feature that allows you to specify your host’s voice type (there are a number to choose from). (Voice Select is available on Better and Super plans.)

What is Call Recording + Archiving?

Call Recording + Archiving is a feature that allows you to record all incoming calls, and save them for future reference. This is particularly useful if you wish to monitor a vulnerable person’s incoming calls and ensuring they are not being manipulated by a scammer. (Call Recording + Archiving is in development. It will be available on Super plans.)

Can you add [feature] to Telgard?

To request a new feature, contact us by email. Although we can’t add everything that’s requested, we’re open to suggestions—and appreciate your ideas and feedback.

Subscriptions

Can I have a free trial?

No. There are hard costs for us to set up each new customer. As such, it’s impractical for us to offer free trials.

How much does it cost?

Plans range from $8 – $14/month. These prices vary based on the features you prefer. You’ll find additional pricing details on our Pricing page.

Why does it cost so much?

We have a number of fixed costs required for providing the service. Additionally, we put a lot of effort into building the system.

Where does the money go?

It covers operating costs and allows us to continue developing—and improving—the product.

Can I get a discount on service?

We have a Refer a Friend program that rewards you (with $7) for the referral. It also offers them a discount of $7, for signing up. This isn’t in place yet, but we’re working to add it as soon as we can. Details are subject to change.

How do I cancel my subscription?

Sign in to the Telgard app; click on Settings; then select Billing. Near the bottom of the screen you’ll see a red button, labelled “Cancel subscription”. Click this button, and confirm your choice in the subsequent panel.

Usage

What is the Safelist?

The Safelist is a list of all callers you approved to call you directly. You can add new callers to this manually when you set up your account. Or, you can do so through the app, by navigating to your Safelist. You can add, remove, or edit the callers on your Safelist at any time, through the app.

What is the Blocklist?

The Blocklist is a list of all callers you do not wish to receive calls from. You can add, remove, or edit the callers on your Blocklist at any time, through the Blocklist panel, in the Telgard app.

How does my History work?

Your Call History lists every incoming call to your number, and the way it was handled. Please note, Call History logging stops when you turn screening off. (Call History is available on Better and Super plans.)

What is a virtual number?

Your virtual number is a unique phone number assigned to you by Telgard. Add this number to your Simultaneous Ring settings (on your telephone provider’s website). Once you have, it’ll allow all your incoming calls to be intercepted by Telgard for screening.

What is a Screener?

A screener is someone who reviews your new incoming phone calls. They can approve/reject callers, adding them to your Safelist/Blocklist. You can screen your own phone calls, or you can ask a friend or family member to do so. In the future, we’ll also allow you to use one of our virtual assistants to screen calls for you.

Settings

Can I turn off coverage temporarily?

Yes. Sign in to the Telgard app, and navigate to your General Settings. Under the Status heading, use the switch to turn coverage off.

Can I change my phone number?

Yes. You can do this in your General Settings panel. Find your phone number and click the Edit text to change the number. Doing so will terminate coverage of your previous number. (Remember to update your Simultaneous Ring information, on your provider’s website, to complete this process.)

What is a Host?

The host is the voice callers hear when Telgard intercepts your incoming calls. It notes that your phone is being protected by Telgard, and that they need to provide some information for screening purposes.

Can I change the host’s voice?

Yes. You do this in the Voice section in your Telgard app Settings. In this area, a dropdown menu presents 8 different hosts you can choose from. (Voice Select is available on Better and Super plans.)

Can I edit what people hear when Telgard answers for me?

Yes. Go to the Voice section in your Telgard app Settings. Under the scripts heading, you’ll see all of the customizable message snippets. Please take care when editing these messages. Specifically: keep the meaning intact, so the voice interface remains intuitive for those calling you. (Message Personalization is available on Better and Super plans.)

Can I upgrade/downgrade my subscription?

Yes. Direct your web browser to the Billing section, and select the Change Plan button under Your Plan. From here, you can upgrade or downgrade, as you’d like. When you do, we automatically switch you to you new subscription plan, and refund you any difference (pro-rated) between the plan prices.

Troubleshooting

Why doesn’t Telgard work on my phone?

Could be that your telephone provider doesn’t offer Simultaneous Ring (this is required to use Telgard). If it does, there could be a technical problem. Contact us with details about what you’re experiencing, and we’ll look into the issue.

Why does my phone keep ringing one time?

It needs to ring once so the call registers with Telgard (through Simultaneous Ring). There’s no way for us to intercept new calls without them ringing once on your end.

Why am I still receiving all incoming calls?

If you’re still receiving unwanted phone calls, and they’re not getting intercepted by Telgard, something is wrong. Could be that Telgard isn’t configured properly. Go to your Settings to check if coverage is running. If not, set it up. If you’re still running into problems contact us and we can help address the problem.

Who do I contact for support?

Feel free to contact us by email. If you’d prefer to speak with us, directly, you can call us at smashLAB (our studio). Our number is: 604-683-2250.

How quickly do you provide support?

We typically respond within moments. That said, we do have families and are sometimes away from our computers (or sleeping).

Liability

What is Telgard’s liability, if I get scammed?

Our service offers a level of protection. That said, scammers are crafty, and there’s no way for us to remove all risk. Therefore, our liability is limited to the amount you have paid us in subscription services.

Industry

I represent a telco and want to offer Telgard to our customers. Is this possible?

Yes—we’d like that. Contact us and we can work together on this.

My organization sends good robocalls (warnings, announcements, etc). Can you add us to your safelist?

We don’t have this capacity yet, but are working on it. Contact us with your information and we’ll reach out when it’s possible to be added to our default safelist.